In a variety of different careers, but not limited to Justice/Human services, critical thinking is crucial when trying to come up with an appropriate response to a situation, but not doing so can cause an array of problems. There are many examples across the world in which critical thinking was or was not actively used during a situation that needed more attention to detail. It’s safe to say that critical thinking is an important skill to have when dealing with things that have complexities with no easy answer.
The first example I present is the incident of a man driving away from a fender bender in Seattle in 2018 (Chavez & Toropin. 2020). A Seattle police officer told one of the man’s friends that the crash left a woman in critical condition, possibly even not surviving the crash. A clever trick to get the driver to confess (Chavez & Toropin. 2020). A report from the Seattle Police Department’s Office of Police Accountability says the driver’s friends reported that he grew worried in the days after the crash, thinking that someone possibly died in the wreck (Chavez & Toropin. 2020). Less than a week after the incident occurring the man had committed suicide over the incident (Chavez & Toropin. 2020).
The second example is that of the mental health crisis that needed to be addressed in the Belleville city of Ontario (Bertrim, 2020). In late October of 2019, the Belleville police received Health IM Mobile Technology which allows them to communicate with triage nurses in order to get advice and determine the best next steps (Bertrim, 2020). The device allows officers to pick the best environment for a person in crisis. For example, “if a trip to the emergency room is required, then the system alerts the triage nurse in advance communicating vital mental health information and this helps the health care staff prepare to provide more timely treatment (Bertrim, 2020).” As stated in the article the program has since been brought into at least 30 other police services in Ontario, along with some Prairies and British Columbia as the mental health crisis is across Canada (Bertrim, 2020).
Lastly, with a very personal example, the implementation of The Watch in Lethbridge, Alberta in May of 2019 (LPS, 2019). A program that consists of mostly volunteers patrolling the streets looking to increase community safety in the downtown area (LPS, 2019). Watch patrol volunteers are deployed seven days a week 10Am- 10Pm throughout the year and will serve as eyes and ears to connect citizens with the appropriate response from community services as well as the police, EMS, and fire (LPS, 2019). It’s also part of the job for volunteers to also provide directions, first aid, tourist information, and other assistance to any individual (LPS, 2019).
All three articles are relatively the same when it comes to critical thinking as it relates to the justice sector. Going beyond the summary of key points, all three demonstrated how critical thinking can go in either direction. In the first article, it was a brilliant idea by a police officer to get a driver to come forward about a fender-bender collision that’s turned bitter in a matter of days. The desired outcome was not how it turned out to be, with the suicide of the man and not a confession. I don’t think that the officer meant to do any harm whatsoever other than get him to come forward about the incident. Although it was odd that the officer relayed the information that the woman involved in the collision “was in critical condition” to a friend of the man, out of everyone in Seattle, is it a coincidence? With that being said it’s also alarming that if the man’s friend told him the misinformation to get him to confess that his friend wasn’t aware of his mental stability and didn’t try to get help and or get him to confess.
Getting into the second article it’s apparent that the need for Medical IM device technology was needed to address the growing mental health crisis in that community. Using technology as it is a growing industry was a great idea in finding a new way to connect officers and triage nurses in a matter of seconds. The downside is that technology might not be reliable one-hundred percent of the time but it is extremely efficient in making an officer’s job easier on mental health calls since there is a triage nurse on “speed dial” that has immediate answers.
Lastly, The Watch program is a program that was thought about in a critical manner. The budgeting concerns, the safety of volunteers, the uniforms, everything was attended to with questions and answers. This program was thought through thoroughly but even so, there were still issues that had arisen. The level of authority we had in certain situations, what was going to happen when winter hits? With The Watch being a new program there were obviously going to be bumped down the road. The whole critical part of this program was the implementation of it to reduce crime downtown and make people feel safe in a way that was giving back to the community by using volunteers.
Critical thinking is relevant to the justice field because it allows for issues to be addressed with a multitude of questions to determine the best course of action. In order for justice professionals to use critical thinking, they have to already possess the skill or acquire it through training/understanding. I believe that all the works I mentioned used critical thinking in order to come to a conclusion to an issue, but the first incident went horribly wrong with the decision made and the last two were positive in their outcomes.
Critical thinking is an important process that focuses on the best possible outcome to an issue. Having questions to establish what needs to be thought of in order to come to the decision as not all issues have a simple answer provides the grounds for critical thinking. In the Justice sector, critical thinking is especially crucial as technology is becoming advanced and more thought in the actions toward situations is important. With the works presented it’s clear that critical thinking doesn’t always have the desired outcome and sometimes it does.